22 Jan Streetcar Crowsnest
After 33 years of popping up in one venue or another, Crow’s Theatre finally took a permanent space on the street level of a Condo complex in the Leslieville neighbourhood of Toronto. The condo developer, Streetcar Developments, generously provided Crow’s with the lead gift in their Capital Campaign giving way to the name of the complex – Streetcar Crowsnest.
The space houses 2 performance areas, a large gathering area and a restaurant. Part of the business model is to also rent out the space in down times for weddings and other events. The signage needed to reflect the Crow’s brand, the beautiful new surroundings and architectural details – like the reclaimed wood beams used throughout, pay tribute to the many donors who had made this space possible through their generous gifts and yet maintain an elegant, succinct, clean and upscale look.
New space is indeed a tabula rasa. We saw the immediate opportunity to combine the recognition and wayfinding/area identification signage for a more stream-lined less cluttered look. We needed to decide whether the brand or the interior environment would drive the design. We opted to take inspiration from dark wood accents, the dark metal window mullions, the white walls and the polished concrete floors of the surroundings in order to create a look that was warm yet classic like the environment. Other than the naming of the complex there were two main levels of recognition plus utility and occupancy /emergency signage. We coordinated the colours, design and materials so that there was a visual consistency throughout. Because most of the outer walls are windows, we avoided highly reflective materials that could bleach out in the light. For the Level one recognition/space identification we went with dimensional individual letters made form a dark anodized aluminum that matched in colour to the wood and window mullions and to these we added wood accent strips. For the second level of recognition we created a system of signs that used frosted acrylic, dark brown text and again the wood accent strips which also hid the pins for blind mounting. These signs were also dual purpose indicating space, area, direction or entrance as well as the donor. For example, the “BMO Greenroom and Dressing Rooms”. The matte surface and brown/white colour combo was also used for the balance of the utilitarian signs.
Working collaboratively with the client in a relatively compressed timeline we created solutions that worked for them, the donors, the environment and anyone who walked into the space for theatre or an event. We delivered a total recognition, wayfinding and utility sign program that met the client’s criteria, a perfect balance of communication, appreciation and artful elegance befitting the space. And we saved time and money as a result.